View Full Version : Taxonomy of Project Failures

12-06-2017, 10:09 PM
Below find the start of a taxonomy of project failures. What do you think? There are many more I am sure. Please post your thoughts on this, add, contest, anything this brings to mind when you think of project failures. I have broken this down by PMI knowledge management areas at the top level.

1. Human Resources

a. specific skills missing
b. sufficient hours available
c. undefined areas of responsibility
d. no team growth / training plans
e. team members on many projects
f. little or no continuous learning in the organization
g. labor instability (competition or attrition)
2. Scope Management

a. unclear scope
b. poor scope control
c. no configuration or change management
d. insufficient time in planning scope
e. too much time spent arguing over scope
f. sponsors and stakeholder role and involvments unclear
g. unresolved conflicting perspectives about scope and no escalation plans
h. inappropriate selection of strategy to achieve the scope
i. poor requirements elicitation
j. poor requirements management
k. office politics
l. lack of trade-off consideration
m. poor match of scope to available time and resources for the project
n. rush to produce final product ( all requirements up front)
o. lack of prioritization of scope contents
p. no confirmation scope has been achieved (verification) until the close of project
q. insufficient team or SME participation
r. unchecked or vetted assumptions
3. Time Management

a. formal time reporting
b. organizations time reporting processing
c. overly optimistic task scheduling
d. no accounting for task variance (point source task duration estimates)
e. missing tasks and task dependencies
f. poorly identified and quantified metrics for monitoring
g. insufficient or lack of monitoring of metricslittle or no follow up on the schedule
h. lack of proactive actions taken when the schedule appears to be slipping
i. poorly defined activities including what constitutes success for activity
j. missing expertise in scope decomposition to tasks
k. durations estimated from inexperienced sources
l. poor use of historical record for estimates
m. not adapting schedule based upon performance metrics
4. Cost Management

a. no cost baselines
b. no change managment and change control
c. slow reporting
d. insufficient cost monitoring
e. no use of earned value management or similar technique
f. currency exchange fluctuations
5. Quality Management

a. insufficient verification and testing
b. unbridaled optimism
c. understood expectation
d. insufficient reviews
e. poor prototype use plan
f. overly optimistic perspective
g. key product attributes and metrics not identified
h. key project attributes and metrics not identifiedd
i. poor prototype parts handling
j. missing or ineffective configuration management
6. Communications Management

a. undefined areas of responsibility
b. unidentified stakeholders and sponsors
c. false stakeholders acting as stakeholders
d. no or poorly articulated communications plan
e. poorly executed or no escalation plans
f. poor project reviews
g. poorly executed and insufficient project reviews
h. team dispersed across the globe without remediation
i. poorly conducted project meetings
j. no note taking during meeting
k. no decisions made as a result of meetings
l. unidentified communications channels
m. mis-use of (or unaccounted for) informal communications
n. too many communications channels
o. organizational structure complexity
p. no connection between sponsor and areas of priority
q. multiple sponsors
r. undefined method of communication
s. poor listening skills
t. poor recording skills (notes)
u. meeting management
v. team hygeine
w. excessive politcs
x. political speak (obfuscation communication)
y. closed environment to open discourse
z. unspecified status reporting periods
aa. unknown status report contents (metrics)
7. Risk Management

a. insufficient vetting of strategy for the project and product
b. no risk management strategy or plan
c. poorly communicated risk strategy or plan
d. no analysis (statistical) of depending risks
e. insufficient time spent uncovering the risks
f. missing talent within the team to identify risks
g. risk log is populated but never reviewed
h. little or no monitoring during execution
i. failure to promptly respond to team members discussing what they see as incoming failure
j. poor use of historical record
k. lack of systems thinking (future consequences)
l. insufficient or no metrics identified for specific risks
m. unknown responsbility for monitoring metric that predicts imminent failure
n. no quantification of risks
o. no qualification of risks
p. risk identification focused on large unlikely events
q. risk identification hyperfocused on easy to solve potential risks
r. insufficient dissementation of previous risks and failures to the team
s. overwhelming optimism of the team and organization
t. no contingency budget
u. randomly generated contingenc budgets
v. contingency budgets not allocated to specific risks
w. hyper focus on one risk category (ex. technical) to the exclusion of the many other areas
x. poor match of risk to risk mitigation (Avoid, Accept, Reduce, Transfer)
y. poorly executed risk mitigation
z. disassociation of risk from stakeholder or sponsor
8. Procurement Management

a. insufficient supplier critique during selection
b. insufficiently skilled supplier (picked because of cost only)
c. insufficient project manager involvement in supplier selection
d. insuffient identification and follow up on key metrics
e. poorly defined area of responsibility with the supplier team
f. little or no verification to ensure contract closure at project closure
9. Stakeholder Management

a. poor stakeholder identification
b. insufficient sponsor engagement
c. false stakeholders not controlled
d. insufficient time spent on objectives